Throughout the past month, as bloggers and even some of my respected fellow alums drove themselves intensely, twitchily crazy pouncing on every shred of internet-spread information re: Michigan's coaching search, I have done my best to remain calm.
- No coach is a savior. Michigan doesn't even need saving. Lloyd Carr is a pantheon-worthy Michigan coach. My biggest concern was coming to grips with the fact that no one else would be, you know, like him. Lloyd seemed to me the ideal of a balanced man, with interests above and beyond college football. He will be missed. Michigan could have hired the second coming of Fielding Yost and I'd still miss Lloyd. It's OK.
- There were three major inflection points in this roller-coaster ride of a search. Maybe four. The first was on the final Saturday of the year, when Kirk Herbstreit looked into the camera, batted his baby blue eyes and announced that Les Miles would be coming to Michigan, and bringing Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta with him. I emailed Crimenotes, noting that Tenuta (whom I've admired for years) helped soften the blow of Michigan having hastily nabbed Miles, and went out to the greenmarket. I came back to the chaos that was the aftermath of that whole fiasco. (Personally, I think Martin slow-walked him on purpose. But it's possible he just got too caught up in christening the Flying Wasp. We should all be so flaky.)
- The second was the near-hiring of Greg Schiano. Apparently, he took Michigan's offer home, mulled it over in the brand-new house he has on land carved out of a nature preserve on the Raritan River, then walked a few steps over to his office and told his guys he couldn't leave. Totally understandable. I was mildly disappointed, having gotten excited about having a defense of 11 guys flying around like angry happy fun balls.
- Then there was the actual hiring of Rodriguez, which was an on-off-on situation. At first it seemed he would stay, but then he changed his mind, apparently after a discussion with his mentor, Don Nehlen. Who was an assistant with, yes, Bo Schembechler.
And so it was that Bo helped get Michigan a new coach, who was born in a small town in West Virginia, just a couple miles from the one where Fielding Yost was. It sounds like a nice, tidy storybook ending, but really it's just beginning. Nothing is promised. Bad things happen.
But so do good ones. Doubtless, We'll have much more to say on this, but I wanted to get some thoughts down on "paper" for now without trying to overthink things. There are issues to discuss, not least of which is the massive, massive culture shock Rodriguez is in for coming from West Virginia to Ann Arbor.